Rajgir means the abode of Gods, is a town in Nalanda district. It is a spiritual town with natural serenity amongst the dense forests, mysterious caves and springs. Both Lord Buddha and Lord Mahavira have said to spent time here giving it huge spiritual and religious importance. Rajgir is famous for forts, rock-cut caves, shell inscriptions, Buddhist ruins, Hindu and Jain temples and Muslim tombs. Rajgir has also become a popular health resort due to the natural hot springs.
Rajgir earlier known as ‘Rajagriha’ or Girivaraja is nestled in the rock hills that witnessed the teachings of both Buddha and Mahavira. Rajgir lies 15 km of Nalanda. Buddha often visited this place, seeking the solitude and tranquillity of the Jivkamaravana monastery and preaching and meditating at the Griddhakuta hill (hill of vultures). At this hill, he converted one of the celebrated followers, the Mauryan king Bimbisara, to Buddhism. When Buddha arrived at ‘Parinirvana’ his devotees held the first Buddhist council at the Saptaparni cave. It was here, that his teachings were penned down for the very first time.
Places To Visit
Griddhakuta or Venture’s Peak:
The peak is a sacred site for the Buddhists as at this place, the Lord Buddha set in motion His second wheel of law and preached sermons to his disciples for three months in the rainy season. The peak also owns a massive modern Stupa, the Shanti Stupa, built by the Buddhist Sangha of Japan.
The Buddha Sangh from Japan has constructed a modern stupa, which is known as Vishwa Shanti Stupa, at the top of the Ratnagiri hills in his commemoration. A bridle path leads up to the hill but if you want to have fun then go by the Aerial Chair lift which works every day except Thursdays.
In 6th century BC during Buddha’s time, there is a stupa 6.5 square meters built by Ajatshatru. The fort is popularly known today having its existence in ruins and hardly seems to be a fort in first glance. Ajatshatru is considered to be the most ancient forts in India.
This is the jail where Ajatasatru kept his father Bimbisara in imprisonment.
Karanda Tank speaks of the glorious past of the Mauryans and brilliantly erected structures. According to a popular myth Lord Buddha used to take bath in this pond during his stay at this place.
Swarn Bhandar Caves:
These two strange caves have been concaved out of a single substantial rock. One of the compartments is believed to be the guard rooms. The doorway is supposed to lead the King Bimbisara treasury. It is also believed that the writing found in the sankhalipi or the shell script gives the clue to the open doorway, which is engraved into the wall. The treasure according to the myths is still intact.
The Cyclopean Wall:
This 40 Km wall used to encircle the whole of the ancient Rajgir. The wall is one of the pre Mauryan stone constructions to be ever found. The wall is made of the substantial stones carefully fitted together. At exit of Rajgir to Gaya, the traces of the wall can still be seen.
These are warm water ponds at the foot of the Vaibhava hill. To approach to various temples a staircase has been made. There are separate bathing places for males and females. Saptdhara or the seven streams is the source of water into the ponds, believed to find their source at the ‘Saptaparni Caves’, up in the hills. Brahmakund is considered as the hottest spring with temperature of 450 degree Celsius.
How to Reach Rajgir
By Air: Gaya airport (GAYA) is the nearest airport from Rajgir which is 70 km away and it has flights from Delhi, Varanasi and even an international connection from Rangoon (Yangon). Another airport is Patna Airport (PAT) which is 105 km away and it is has flights from Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Lucknow.
By Rail: Rajgir itself has a railway station (RGD) which is linked with other cities like Delhi, Varanasi, Kolkatta and Patna. Other nearest railway station is at Gaya (GAYA) which is 65km away and it has great connectivity to metro cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Bangalore, Ranchi, Varanasi and Hyderabad.
By Road: Distances